After crushing UNLV, Spartans jump to top of MW rankings

Nevada quarterback Nate Cox and the Wolf Pack dropped to 10th in the Nevada Appeal’s Mountain West rankings following a 17-14 loss to Colorado State.

Nevada quarterback Nate Cox and the Wolf Pack dropped to 10th in the Nevada Appeal’s Mountain West rankings following a 17-14 loss to Colorado State.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

The San Jose State Spartans are now on top of the Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings.

“It’s special for me,” said Spartans coach Brent Brennan after a 40-7 victory over No. 5 UNLV on Friday night. “Being here this amount of time, seeing the students, our alumni, all of San Jose embrace our team this way, it is special. I coached a lot of games here when we didn’t have that.”

The Spartans, 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain West, whipped the Rebels (4-2, 2-1) behind quarterback Chevan Cordeiro’s 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 109 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. Cordeiro, who transferred from Hawaii this past off-season, was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

“It’s just practicing against our defense every day, every week,” said Cordeiro, when asked to explain his success this season. “Just competing against them. They are the best defense in the Mountain West and they make us (the offense) better.”

The Spartans held UNLV to 213 yards and 13 first downs. The Rebels, though, lost starting quarterback Doug Brumfield to injury (head and ankle) in the first quarter.

“Our identity tonight wasn’t what it has been,” said UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo, who played quarterback for San Jose State from 1998-2002.

“This is not how we envisioned this game going,” said UNLV linebacker Austin Ajiake, who had 13 tackles and two sacks. “But it’s a long season. We’re not where we want to be, but we can get there.”

Cordeiro connected with tight end Dominick Mazotti seven times for 100 yards and a touchdown. Cordeiro also found former Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver Elijah Cooks for a touchdown.
“We just roll with the punches,” Mazotti said. “When other (receivers) are double-teamed we all stay positive and Chevan finds us.”

A crowd of 16,669 watched the Spartans beat UNLV. San Jose State is averaging 16,673 fans a game over its first three home games this year, up slightly from 15,447 last year.

“How else do you want to spend your Friday night?” said Brennan with a smile.

Arroyo said Brumfield is questionable for Saturday’s game against Air Force in Las Vegas. Cameron Friel was 15-of-22 for 153 yards and a touchdown after replacing Brumfield against San Jose State.

“We took it on the chin,” Arroyo said. “That’s going to happen. We can’t let one loss ruin our season. That’s not going to happen.”

No. 2 Boise State rolled over No. 8 Fresno State, 40-20, scoring the final 20 points of the game. Fresno State, playing with backup quarterback Logan Fife, had 233 yards on offense (just 99 yards on 35 rushing attempts).

“It was awesome to see how persistent the guys were,” said Boise State head coach Andy Avalos, whose Broncos are now 4-2, 3-0. “The team got stronger as the game went on.”

Boise State quarterback Taylen Green, playing for former starter Hank Bachmeier, was 10-of-18 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. George Holani rushed for 157 yards on just 17 carries.

“I think when we as an offense get rhythm, we can really look smooth in the run game,” Holani said.

Boise State rushed for 316 yards on 52 carries.

“The run game opens everything up,” Avalos said. “That’s where football starts. The team that wins championships wins at the line of scrimmage.”

Fresno State fell to 1-4, 0-1. Fife, who has replaced injured starter Jake Haener, was 14-of-25 for 134 yards and two interceptions.

“Things will turn around,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said. “One day, we will be on the other end of this.” 

No. 3 Wyoming (4-3, 2-1) fell behind, 14-0, before beating New Mexico, 27-14. A pair of touchdown passes from Andrew Peasley to Treyton Welch in the second and third quarter keyed the Cowboys’ comeback. John Hoyland also kicked a pair of field goals.

No. 11 New Mexico, now 2-4, 0-3, also led UNLV, 14-0, last week before losing, 31-20. Quarterback Miles Kendrick, a transfer from Kansas, scored on a 2-yard run to open the scoring against Wyoming. Kendrick was 11-of-17 for 107 yards through the air and also ran for 72 yards on 19 carries. New Mexico, though, fired offensive coordinator Derek Warehine on Sunday. Warehine was in his third season as the Lobos’ offensive coordinator.

Wyoming intercepted two New Mexico passes (off Kendrick and backup Justin Holaday) in the last 90 seconds of the game, helping to wipe out a 14-13 New Mexico lead. Wyoming’s Cameron Stone returned one of those interceptions 38 yards for a touchdown.

“It was a great college football game until we made too many mistakes,” New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said. “It’s who we are.”

No. 6 San Diego State (3-3, 1-1) got by No. 12 Hawaii, 16-14, on a 26-yard field goal by Jack Browning with seven seconds to play.

The Aztecs switched safety Jalen Mayden to quarterback on Monday after injuries to starter Braxton Burmeister and backup Kyle Crum left true freshman Liu Aumavae as the only quarterback on the roster. Will Haskell also left the team two weeks ago.

Mayden responded at Hawaii by completing 24-of-36 passes for 322 yards and a touchdown. Mayden, a former quarterback at Mississippi State, switched to safety when he transferred to San Diego State before this season.

“Whatever is best for the team, that’s what I’m willing to do,” Mayden said. “It felt like being a kid again just playing ball. I had to get a little rust and cobwebs off my arm, but everything felt natural.”

Hawaii (1-5, 0-1), which hosts Nevada on Saturday, took a 14-13 lead on a 22-yard touchdown run by Dedrick Parson with 1:19 to play. Browning, who missed a 30-yard field goal with five minutes left, then redeemed himself with seven seconds left for San Diego State.

“It was a heck of a finish,” San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke said. “I was proud of Jack (Browning), how he came back.”

No. 7 Utah State knocked off No. 4 Air Force, 34-27, in Logan, Utah. Air Force led 14-10 in the second quarter, 17-13 in the third quarter and 24-20 in the fourth quarter.

Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas found Terrell Vaughn for a 34-yard touchdown with 10:15 left in the fourth quarter. Legas then scored on a 32-yard run with seven minutes left.

Air Force (4-2, 1-2) rushed for 264 yards on 55 carries, controlling the ball for 34:16. Utah State (2-4, 1-1) ran for 199 yards, 109 by Calvin Tyler.

No. 9 Colorado State (1-4, 1-0) beat No. 10 Nevada (2-4, 0-2), 17-14, on a 43-yard field goal by Michael Boyle as time expired. Colorado State also scored on an interception and fumble return to take a 14-0 lead.

Nevada now owns the longest losing streak in the Mountain West, at four games.

“This game is all about love and playing for your teammates,” said Norvell, who was Nevada’s head coach from 2017-21. “And we really haven’t seen that from our kids this year. But we saw it tonight.”

Norvell has seen nine of his players leave the team since the season has started.

“We have become a lot closer because we now have guys in the locker room that are all-in,” Norvell said. “Before, we had guys who were half-in.”

Norvell noticed a video on Nevada’s Mackay Stadium scoreboard during the game that showed Nevada teams of the past rallying to win in the final minutes.

“They showed a video of Mackay magic and all those games were ones we won (from 2017-21),” Norvell smiled. “I just felt like the Lord was smiling down on us.”

The Nevada Appeal’s Mountain West football rankings for the week of Oct. 10:

1. SAN JOSE STATE (4-1, 2-0). Last week: San Jose State 40, UNLV 7. This week: San Jose State at Fresno State, Saturday.

2. BOISE STATE (4-2, 3-0). Last week: Boise State 40, Fresno State 20. This week: Idle.

3. WYOMING (4-3, 2-1). Last week: Wyoming 27, New Mexico 14. This week: Idle.

4. AIR FORCE (4-2, 1-2). Last week: Utah State 34, Air Force 27. This week: Air Force at UNLV, Saturday.

5. UNLV (4-2, 2-1). Last week: San Jose State 40, UNLV 7. This week: Air Force at UNLV, Saturday.

6. SAN DIEGO STATE (3-3, 1-1). Last week: San Diego State 16, Hawaii 14. This week: Idle.

7. UTAH STATE (2-4, 1-1). Last week: Utah State 34, Air Force 27. This week: Utah State at Colorado State, Saturday.

8. FRESNO STATE (1-4, 0-1). Last week: Boise State 40, Fresno State 20. This week: San Jose State at Fresno State, Saturday.

9. COLORADO STATE (1-4, 1-0). Last week: Colorado State 17, Nevada 14. This week: Utah State at Colorado State, Saturday.

10. NEVADA (2-4, 0-2). Last week: Colorado State 17, Nevada 14. This week: Nevada at Hawaii, Saturday.

11. NEW MEXICO (2-4, 0-3). Last week: Wyoming 27, New Mexico 14. This week: New Mexico at New Mexico State, Saturday.

12. HAWAII (1-5, 0-1). Last week: San Diego State 16, Hawaii 14. This week: Nevada at Hawaii, Saturday.

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